1. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month - generating attention for the most common cancer in women. It's also the second most deadly cancer for women - almost 40,000 people died from the disease in 2012 alone. Over the last few decades however, considerable progress has been made in mitigating the disease's effects. Since 1980, the 5-year survival rate for women diagnosed in the cancers early-stages has risen about 24 percent. But incidence of breast cancer is not declining. One in eight women will be diagnosed with cancer in her lifetime, up from one in 12 in the 1980s. 
  2. Breast Cancer survival
    Breast Cancer survival
  3. Success is due in part to organizations that have made it their business to lessen the impact of the disease. Foundations such as the Avon Foundation for Women and Susan G Komen For the Cure have long held fundraisers to spread awareness and raise money. 
  4. Avon Walk for Breast Cancer - TV Spot 2012
  5. As efforts to eradicate breast cancer grow, so do perceptions that companies are attaching themselves to these campaigns without positively contributing to finding a cure. In response, Breast Cancer Action coined the term "pinkwasher." The practice has become so common that the Better Business Bureau recently addressed it. 
  6. Breast Cancer Action coined the term pinkwashing as part of our Think Before You Pink® campaign. Pinkwasher: (pink’-wah-sher) noun. A company or organization that claims to care about breast cancer by promoting a pink ribbon product, but at the same time produces, manufactures and/or sells products that are linked to the disease.
  7. Although some of these companies do agree to give funding to breast cancer charities, some products attached to campaigns may actually be linked to cancer. 
  8. In 2009 KFC partnered with the Susan G. Komen Foundation to release this chicken bucket. Many criticized both companies, saying that poor diets have been linked an increase in the risk of getting cancer. 
  9. Other instances uses of pink have no discernible connection to breast cancer funding:
  10. As awareness seems to grow, some have openly wondered whether the campaign has reached a point of over saturation, leaving the original mission behind. 
  11. Others disagree and say that an increase in breast cancer awareness is beneficial. 
  12. Efforts to increase the presence of the color pink to raise awareness have led to what some critics call "pink-ribbon culture." In this "culture" many who live with cancer everyday feel left out - including those who are currently battling breast cancer. 
  13. Nancy Stordahl, breast cancer survivor:
  14. Time and time again, individuals living with stage IV/metastatic breast cancer tell me they don't like October, all the pink hoopla and the countless pink ribbons that appear everywhere. They feel they do not fit the image so often portrayed. You know the one: the strong, brave and positive-minded warrior in pink. The image which suggests if you just fight hard enough you'll be fine. The unspoken message also seems to be, unintended or not, that metastatic patients have somehow failed in their pink fight.
  15. Others who are undergoing cancer treatment have also expressed contempt for the amount of attention dedicated to one specific type of cancer. This Reddit thread, called "Why should we be aware of only breast cancer? As a brain cancer survivor, I must say this is infuriating," has been commented on almost 1400 times. 
  16. A woman gets diagnosed with breast cancer and she sees millions of women who have been there. I got diagnosed with brain cancer and I thought I was going to die, because I had never heard of anyone surviving.
  17. October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The relatively more attention paid to only one problem plaguing women does not sit well with everybody.
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